Friday, February 10, 2012

I Care Mandatory? 10% Deduction?

10% deduction from your monthly salary for health insurance just a proposal?

When you read between the lines, it tells you that there is indeed a proposal to make it mandatory for employees to contribute 10% of their monthly salary to the 1 Care scheme.

Wow, 10% of salary is a lot of money for practically all of us. And it is non-refundable!

Contrast this with SOCSO or Social Security Organization programme that only requires a contribution of 1.75% from the employer and 0.5% of wages from the employee for the Employment Injury Insurance Scheme and the Invalidity Pension Scheme.

The 10% proposal may well be a simple salesman’s pitch, a planned presentation for the expected bargaining to reach a predetermined figure which the sales prospect, the Rakyat, will unwittingly take credit for.

A 20% discount from this 10% will still make a painful 8% damage on your hard-earned income but you will be feeling smug and singing praise to the authorities for their “people-friendly response”.

Why Are We Telling This?

We am telling you this lest you might think doctors and pharmacist are going to gain unfairly from this 1Care scheme!

Our feeble minds tell us that your money is not going into a provident fund where you can withdraw with interest upon termination.

It tell us that the money, a phenomenal RM45 billion a year according to one writer in the free press, will go to a main player complete with the usual layers of rent-seekers who will make minimum payouts to ensure maximum profit for their "effort".

For pharmacy, it will mean having to register (on top of the mandatory registration with the Pharmacy Board and licensing by the Ministry of Health and local council) with each insurance provider, purchase their computer software and pay them for the privilege to dispense prescriptions issued by their registered doctors.

The “re-registered” pharmacies will then be constrained to accept the very minimum of compensation for professional involvement in dispensing from a restricted list of medications and professional involvement in medication research to prevent adverse drug interactions, side effect and ensure correct dosage and schedule of dosing, patient counseling and maintenance of medication and insurance records.

And you may required to fork out extra Ringgit, over and above your health insurance premium, to pay for medications not included in the restricted 1 Care list. These may include superior dosage forms of the same 1 Care mandated medication like sustained-release antiasthmatics, combination antihypertensive/antidiuretics, a spray form of antianginal, a higher strength cholesterol lowering tablet, an innovator brand instead of a generic form the third world.

The above is mere speculation. Like you, the Rakyat, we community pharmacists have been told little about 1 Care.

Dr David KL Quek, Immediate Part-President of the Malaysian Medical Association has written on the health reform socio-economics, CLICK HERE and HERE. The Federation of Private Medical Practitioners' Associations Malaysia has started a Tak Nak 1Care facebook campaign.

But we find “1-Care: More Transparency Needed” by Black Cactus succinct and have reproduced below this January 8, 2012 article from the Malaysian Insider (without permission) for your convenience.

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